Diffusion models have achieved state-of-the-art performance in generative modeling tasks across various domains. Prior works on time series diffusion models have primarily focused on developing conditional models tailored to specific forecasting or imputation tasks. In this work, we explore the potential of task-agnostic, unconditional diffusion models for several time series applications. We propose TSDiff, an unconditionally trained diffusion model for time series. Our proposed self-guidance mechanism enables conditioning TSDiff for downstream tasks during inference, without requiring auxiliary networks or altering the training procedure. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our method on three different time series tasks: forecasting, refinement, and synthetic data generation. First, we show that TSDiff is competitive with several task-specific conditional forecasting methods (predict). Second, we leverage the learned implicit probability density of TSDiff to iteratively refine the predictions of base forecasters with reduced computational overhead over reverse diffusion (refine). Notably, the generative performance of the model remains intact -- downstream forecasters trained on synthetic samples from TSDiff outperform forecasters that are trained on samples from other state-of-the-art generative time series models, occasionally even outperforming models trained on real data (synthesize).
We present Flow-Guided Density Ratio Learning (FDRL), a simple and scalable approach to generative modeling which builds on the stale (time-independent) approximation of the gradient flow of entropy-regularized f-divergences introduced in DGflow. In DGflow, the intractable time-dependent density ratio is approximated by a stale estimator given by a GAN discriminator. This is sufficient in the case of sample refinement, where the source and target distributions of the flow are close to each other. However, this assumption is invalid for generation and a naive application of the stale estimator fails due to the large chasm between the two distributions. FDRL proposes to train a density ratio estimator such that it learns from progressively improving samples during the training process. We show that this simple method alleviates the density chasm problem, allowing FDRL to generate images of dimensions as high as $128\times128$, as well as outperform existing gradient flow baselines on quantitative benchmarks. We also show the flexibility of FDRL with two use cases. First, unconditional FDRL can be easily composed with external classifiers to perform class-conditional generation. Second, FDRL can be directly applied to unpaired image-to-image translation with no modifications needed to the framework. Code is publicly available at https://github.com/ajrheng/FDRL.
Learning accurate predictive models of real-world dynamic phenomena (e.g., climate, biological) remains a challenging task. One key issue is that the data generated by both natural and artificial processes often comprise time series that are irregularly sampled and/or contain missing observations. In this work, we propose the Neural Continuous-Discrete State Space Model (NCDSSM) for continuous-time modeling of time series through discrete-time observations. NCDSSM employs auxiliary variables to disentangle recognition from dynamics, thus requiring amortized inference only for the auxiliary variables. Leveraging techniques from continuous-discrete filtering theory, we demonstrate how to perform accurate Bayesian inference for the dynamic states. We propose three flexible parameterizations of the latent dynamics and an efficient training objective that marginalizes the dynamic states during inference. Empirical results on multiple benchmark datasets across various domains show improved imputation and forecasting performance of NCDSSM over existing models.
Many complex time series can be effectively subdivided into distinct regimes that exhibit persistent dynamics. Discovering the switching behavior and the statistical patterns in these regimes is important for understanding the underlying dynamical system. We propose the Recurrent Explicit Duration Switching Dynamical System (RED-SDS), a flexible model that is capable of identifying both state- and time-dependent switching dynamics. State-dependent switching is enabled by a recurrent state-to-switch connection and an explicit duration count variable is used to improve the time-dependent switching behavior. We demonstrate how to perform efficient inference using a hybrid algorithm that approximates the posterior of the continuous states via an inference network and performs exact inference for the discrete switches and counts. The model is trained by maximizing a Monte Carlo lower bound of the marginal log-likelihood that can be computed efficiently as a byproduct of the inference routine. Empirical results on multiple datasets demonstrate that RED-SDS achieves considerable improvement in time series segmentation and competitive forecasting performance against the state of the art.
Deep generative modeling has seen impressive advances in recent years, to the point where it is now commonplace to see simulated samples (e.g., images) that closely resemble real-world data. However, generation quality is generally inconsistent for any given model and can vary dramatically between samples. We introduce Discriminator Gradient flow (DGflow), a new technique that improves generated samples via the gradient flow of entropy-regularized f-divergences between the real and the generated data distributions. The gradient flow takes the form of a non-linear Fokker-Plank equation, which can be easily simulated by sampling from the equivalent McKean-Vlasov process. By refining inferior samples, our technique avoids wasteful sample rejection used by previous methods (DRS & MH-GAN). Compared to existing works that focus on specific GAN variants, we show our refinement approach can be applied to GANs with vector-valued critics and even other deep generative models such as VAEs and Normalizing Flows. Empirical results on multiple synthetic, image, and text datasets demonstrate that DGflow leads to significant improvement in the quality of generated samples for a variety of generative models, outperforming the state-of-the-art Discriminator Optimal Transport (DOT) and Discriminator Driven Latent Sampling (DDLS) methods.
This work contributes an event-driven visual-tactile perception system, comprising a novel biologically-inspired tactile sensor and multi-modal spike-based learning. Our neuromorphic fingertip tactile sensor, NeuTouch, scales well with the number of taxels thanks to its event-based nature. Likewise, our Visual-Tactile Spiking Neural Network (VT-SNN) enables fast perception when coupled with event sensors. We evaluate our visual-tactile system (using the NeuTouch and Prophesee event camera) on two robot tasks: container classification and rotational slip detection. On both tasks, we observe good accuracies relative to standard deep learning methods. We have made our visual-tactile datasets freely-available to encourage research on multi-modal event-driven robot perception, which we believe is a promising approach towards intelligent power-efficient robot systems.
In this paper, we formulate the problem of learning an Implicit Generative Model (IGM) as minimizing the expected distance between characteristic functions. Specifically, we match the characteristic functions of the real and generated data distributions under a suitably-chosen weighting distribution. This distance measure, which we term as the characteristic function distance (CFD), can be (approximately) computed with linear time-complexity in the number of samples, compared to the quadratic-time Maximum Mean Discrepancy (MMD). By replacing the discrepancy measure in the critic of a GAN with the CFD, we obtain a model that is simple to implement and stable to train; the proposed metric enjoys desirable theoretical properties including continuity and differentiability with respect to generator parameters, and continuity in the weak topology. We further propose a variation of the CFD in which the weighting distribution parameters are also optimized during training; this obviates the need for manual tuning and leads to an improvement in test power relative to CFD. Experiments show that our proposed method outperforms WGAN and MMD-GAN variants on a variety of unsupervised image generation benchmark datasets.
We address the problem of unsupervised disentanglement of latent representations learnt via deep generative models. In contrast to current approaches that operate on the evidence lower bound (ELBO), we argue that statistical independence in the latent space of VAEs can be enforced in a principled hierarchical Bayesian manner. To this effect, we augment the standard VAE with an inverse-Wishart (IW) prior on the covariance matrix of the latent code. By tuning the IW parameters, we are able to encourage (or discourage) independence in the learnt latent dimensions. Extensive experimental results on a range of datasets (2DShapes, 3DChairs, 3DFaces and CelebA) show our approach to outperform the $\beta$-VAE and is competitive with the state-of-the-art FactorVAE. Our approach achieves significantly better disentanglement and reconstruction on a new dataset (CorrelatedEllipses) which introduces correlations between the factors of variation.